"Burn Me" 1990, 26.5" x 36"
"Left Hand" 1973, 41.5" x 48"
Black Painting "III Vietnam Series" 24" x 20 "
Brown Painting 1977, 27 " x 21 "
"Felix the Cat" 2000, 38 " x 36 "
Wally Hedrick : Painter, Sculptor, Teacher 1928 - 2003
Wally's career began in 1946, when after a
visit to the California School of Fine Arts (now the
San Francisco Art Institute) he pushed his model A
Ford out of the garage and turned it into a studio.
During this period, he joined Progressive Art Workers
with Paula Webb, David Simpson, Deborah Remington,
Hayward King, Rudolph Jenkins, John Allen Ryan, John
Stanley and others. The Progressive Art Workers was a
social club which also functioned as a co-operative
through which the group the members were able to
exhibit their works.
In 1951, Hedrick was drafted into the United
States Infantry and stationed in Korea until 1952.
Because he was drafted against his will, actually
escorted away by MPs without even having the chance to
call his parents, this had a profound effect on
Wally's life and work. Through out his career a
recurring theme is his anti-war stance. During
Vietnam, he actually painted all of his works black,
believing he was withdrawing his contribution to
western culture. These paintings he later
recycled--recycling being another recurring theme in
his work--during the Persian Gulf War, slathering them
with statements in white acrylic like, "So damn, whose
In 1954, Wally co-founded The Six Gallery
with David Simpson, Hayward King, John Allen Ryan,
Deborah Remington and Jack Spicer. The Six Gallery
functioned as an underground gallery for the members
and a meeting place for poets and literati alike.
Allen Ginsberg first read his poem, "Howl", at The Six
In 1955, Dorothy Miller came to the West
Coast and included Hedrick in the "Sixteen Americans"
show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Some of
the other participants in this show were Hedrick's
then wife, Jay De Feo, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly,
Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella as well as others.
According to Walter Hopps, in his forward to a
catalogue which accompanied the 1985 show at the San
Francisco Art institute, Hedrick decided to ignore the
ideal of "career", "fame" and "greatness" to which his
peers aspired, and settled for a simpler life,
uncomplicated by openings and galleries and cocktail
parties. "Going to a museum or a gallery is like going
to the moon," Hedrick has been quoted as saying, on
more than one occasion, and backed up his statement in
this particular instance by giving his tickets to the
show in New York to someone he hardly knew.
Wally taught at various institutions
throughout his career including the San Francisco Art
Institute, the San Francisco Academy of Art, San
Francisco State University, University of California
at Davis, San Jose State and the College of Marin,
where he held Professor Emeritus status.
His works have been exhibited in galleries
and museums around the world including The Museum of
Modern Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, The de Young Museum in
San Francisco and The Issacs Gallery in Toronto. His
work resides in public collections which include The
Smithsonian Institute, The Museum of Modern Art, New
York, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, and the
de Young Museum to name a few.
Excerpted from Biography by Catherine Conlin, Archivist,